Category Archives: Jonah

Jonah; Matthew 11

Matthew 11 is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture.

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:2-6 [NASB]

John the Baptist was sitting in prison for doing what was morally right. He called out sin and was placed in jail for it and soon would be executed. In his mind it wasn’t turning out the way he expected. He didn’t see himself rotting away in some jail, but serving God. What a huge difference between the crowds that came to see him preach and now sitting in jail his life wasting away.

So he sends his men to Jesus to see if he is the real Messiah or whether they should wait for another. Jesus replies to their questions by reporting what he is doing. And then he shares with the crowd what an awesome person John the Baptist was. He didn’t scold him or deride him. Jesus praises his cousin John.

Later in the chapter he talks about the the Kingdom of God and he puts it this way (paraphrased), The Kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing and forceful men and woman take hold of it. In other words the Kingdom of God is not for sissies. It is moving forward to strong people take hold of it and help move it forward. People like John the Baptist.

Soon John would lose his head. Although the church had not been born yet, John epitomizes this watchword of the church. The Church advances on the blood of Her martyrs.

I guess the question this morning to you is, Are you ready for the challenge. Will you join the men and women through the ages who have been forceful enough and even brave enough to give their lives in seeing the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

 

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1 Chronicles 17; James 4; Jonah 1; Luke 6

Spending time with God, talking to Him, listening, and engaging with His word is something I treasure and enjoy every day.  The fact that God spends time with me gives me incredible encouragement to keep spending time with Him.

For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him; therefore your servant has found it possible to pray before you.                          1 Chronicles 17:25   NRSV

When I learned very early that God was not a vending machine where I inserted my time and effort and earned the right for a product to come sliding down into my hands, I knew that my life would never be the same. Love had entered the picture, and I accepted God’s love for first time, not in faith as in salvation, but in trust and hope that He was my Father.

 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. – James 4:3   NRSV

Sometimes I am in control and feel safe in His arms and other times I am caught up in my own world and forget to leave my matters in the palm of His hand.  Sometimes I simply forget that He is watching me, caring over me and loving me.  When I do mess up, He never leaves me.  There are times I have felt His arms around me even though I have suffered some extreme loss.

But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17   NRSV

People wonder why my hands are outstretched when I pray.  It is a sign of surrender, for sure, but for me it is more about inviting God into my life to do what He does best – change me, make me whole, restore my life because I am Yours.

 After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. – Luke 6:10   NRSV

Father, You see my hand stretched out to You. Sometimes I can say words, sometimes I can only breathe deep breaths and sometimes when You love me so much, I can only cry.  I can pray because You have blessed me with promises and every one of them You have kept.  I can pray because You have shown me that you are more than God, You have come to me as my Father.  I can pray because in my weakest moments in life, Your arms are around me.  I can pray because I love being with You. I love You and thank You that You are always You – each and every day. Amen.

evanlaar

 

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jonah, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

1Chron.17; James 4; Jonah 1; Luke 6

Who teaches the Teacher??

Ask any parent… what is their primary goal as a father/mother? If you were to ask my Dad, he would have responded “to have you live on your own!” I can almost hear the laughs starting, but, there is wisdom in those words. Yes… I will admit… by the time I reached the age of 15, my Dad and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye… but did it mean that I was a problem child? Actually no… I had reached the age that I didn’t need to be ‘taught’ any longer… or so I thought. Regardless of what I wanted or thought I needed, my Dad was committed to preparing me to survive in the world after I left. Through his words and his actions, he was teaching me… preparing me to understand how to live… how to conduct myself in various situations. Like it or not, as parents, we’re tasked with the responsibility preparing our children to leave us! We impart our knowledge, our passions, our experiences on our children so that they can survive and know how to live. Quite a task… but as teachers… who teaches the teacher?? Who do we turn to as our model to aspire to? Is the right way to seek others as the guide? If we choose to focus on using others as models, we run the risk of comparing ourselves to others… not a healthy place to be. As Andy Stanley put it in his recent sermon message “The Comparison Trap”, there’s no win in comparison! Comparison spawns an insatiable desire to be better than someone else… perhaps a safer, more meaning option would be to look towards the Teacher of all teachers… Jesus!

The Bible is filled with examples of how Jesus assumed the role of teacher… and we can see this in Luke 6, where insightful points are made that underscore what it means to be a Christian as Jesus saves those who follow Him… He teaches us with the goal of us becoming more like Him.

Jesus uses a parable “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?” “A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”

If any of you have seen my daughter’s photographic work, I know you would agree that she has an incredible gift. Recently, my daughter gave me a compilation photo that has a photo of me in different roles… the one photo that meant the most to her was that of ‘Role Model’ which touched me deeply. I always wanted to be diligent enough to positively affect my girls’ lives, but as parents we don’t often see the fruit of our efforts for many years. Often, we grow impatient and want/(need) to see results NOW… but as any teacher will attest to… often times the lesson isn’t learned on our time. But there is no denying that I have rubbed off on my daughters and have created a model they are using to gauge young men who express interest in them. Clearly, teaching, through modeling, to our children has tremendous consequences… good OR bad!!

God’s word tells us: train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Whatever direction we tend to be trained into, we have a tendency to keep going in that direction. However, the Teacher of teachers, Jesus, seeks to teach us an even deeper truth… that we only need follow Him and His instruction, as Teacher, and we can become more like the Teacher who instructs us. Why? Because God loves to communicate with His children… He enjoyed spending time with Adam and Eve in the garden, and He loves when His children call on Him or respond when He calls on them (Jonah 1).

I love the warning Jesus offers us in Luke 6:47-49… Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when the flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard, and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house upon ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Heavenly Father… just as David modeled reaching out to You in 1 Chronicles 17, help to soften our hearts so that we seek You in all things… always… that when nothing seems possible, that we pray so we can experience the possibility and power of Your grace. As Your children, we are called to live out of grace and not our achievements. When we seek ourselves, our achievements, instead of You as our teacher and guide, whatever we do will never feel like enough. However, in prayer and turning towards You, we hope to discover the infinite possibilities of living out of grace… Amen!

Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)

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Jonah 1, 2, 3, 4; Acts 15:1-21

Jonah doesn’t want to do what the Lord says. He gets on a boat and heads in the far opposite direction of where he should be going. He puts everyone on the boat in great danger, but he is unaware. Jonah 1:1-5 NLT.

Doesn’t want to do it. Goes in the opposite direction. Puts others in danger. He is unaware.

Some years ago I did a life illustration for my daughter using Fisher-Price Little People in a boat. The boat was our home, and the people inside were the family members. The application had nothing to do with Jonah, but I thought of that little boat with the family inside when I started reading today.

I thought of one man’s disobedience, and how it put others in danger–and he was unaware.

I don’t often think of the ripple effect of my actions (or inaction). Unaware. A storm builds up and threatens to tear the boat apart–my home. Impatience. Apathy. Even preoccupation with other responsibilities. Am I hearing the call God has on my life?

God says, “Go here.” And Jonah says, “No.”

Am I so caught up in (fill in the blank) that I don’t even hear his voice? Little people in my boat, where am I steering us? Does my walk with the Lord show obedience to him? What do I make priority in my life? Do my words and actions align?

I think of family generations–the ones before me who set a course the others followed. Is that the course I want to follow? Is where I’m going a place I want my kids to end up?

Father, I pray that I would hear you and your call on my life. Help me to lead where you have placed me. When you say to me, “Go here.” I want my bags packed and my heart willing. Willing to go to love, forgiveness, patience, kindness–wherever you say. Help me to be mindful of the path I’m on, and ready to redirect my steps. Help me to be mindful I’m setting a course that others may follow.

Courtney (66books365)

Lead Where You Are

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Jonah, Old Testament

Jonah

Scripture

“I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.

I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”

Jonah 2:6; 4:2b

Observation

Most of the books written by the prophets are about their visions, their audience, their message, the outcome. But Jonah is mostly about him, about Jonah.

Only about 6 verses are really about his message and the result (Jonah 3:5-10). The rest of the book deals with Jonah’s defiance, running away, repentance, prayers about himself, reassessing life from the belly of a fish, griping that the people actually listened to him, and throwing a pity party.

Made me think . . .

Application

How often does ministry minister more to those involved in leading it than those it is directed toward? I need to be and stay involved, God’s talking to ME!

God works in ways we never expect.

God’s not finished with me, and I hope I can learn the lessons He has without needing to swim in digestive juices to listen and obey.

I need to trust God with the outcomes — good or bad.

God sometimes needs to drag me down for me to be ready to listen. (Reminds me of Amos 3:6 from earlier this week — if there’s a calamity, didn’t God cause it? If we weren’t so desperately stubborn and deaf, He might not have to shout so loud).

Prayer

Lord, Forgive me for my selfishness that keeps me from sharing You. Help me listen more readily, and share more freely. I want to always run toward You. ~Amen

Erin (5intow)

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